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Getting by during extreme weather events

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  • Getting by during extreme weather events

    So yesterday Tropical Storm Lee passed through northern Virginia and dumped by various estimates somewhere between 10 to 15 inches of rain in a 24 hour period, most of it from about 3 to 9 pm. As a homeowner with two small kids and a house next to a flood plain I had a very stressful and eventful afternoon and evening, I'm just trying to see where it fits in on a primal scale.

    Having experienced a flooded house before, I did not want to experience it again so I invested in some landscaping improvements, 2 sump pumps, a few strategicallly placed sandbags and thought I was ready. During the late afternoon I was scanning weather radar maps and it did not look good so I left work a little early and decided to take the bus home but traffic was so bad because it was pouring rain. I got off the bus early about 5 blocks from home because it was hardly moving and stopped under an awning to call my wife on my cell.

    She told me in a panicked voice that our main pump stopped working and that water was backing up and she was bailing water. Insert mass dose of stress hormone. I ran as fast as I could the 5 blocks or so home (got in a sprint workout I reckon) and flipped out when I saw the creek about 50 yards from our house nearly spill its banks. When I got home about 6:30 I was soaking wet and saw that the water in the basement was perilously close to the furnace and soon we might be without AC. We normally bail water into the sink but the water table was so high that the sink was draining slowly so I had to bail water into a 3 and 5 gallon bucket and carry them up a staircase outside into the street, all the time in soaking clothes. We barely made a dent on getting the water level in the basement down but kept it in check with the help of a neighbor. We realized that the main pump broke (probably from working continuously for a few hours) and the backup was working nonstop but not keeping up.

    After doing this for about 3 hours the rain let up and we started to make some progress on getting the water so it was down in the sump pit only and could pour water in the sink. By 11 pm or so we made a dent on keeping the water in check and could actually see it go down in the sump pit when we bailed enough.

    At this point I had not eaten since noon and that was only a small lunch so I went to 7/11 and scarfed down four frosted Strawberry Pop Tarts, a pack of chocolate covered almonds, and a Snickers bar--the Pop Tarts alone were alone 150 grams of carbs, mostly sugar. Then I came home and continued bailing and cleaning until about 3 am.

    The good news is that we suffered no serious damage. Unfortunately many neighbors all around me could not keep up and had anywhere from 4 inches to 3 feet of water in their basements.

    I'm not sure what to make of all of this. There was some great camraderie with my neighbors, some major stress hormones and panic, adrenaline which had me pulling nearly an all night of physical labor (I'm sore in a few unusual places today, including my knees from being on them so much while bailing). Going through this cocktail of stress in a way made me feel a little more alive. Then there was the very unprimal midnight snack of Pop Tarts. I think ordinarily I would have felt like crap after eating that but I think was so hungry and stressed I did not even notice.

  • #2
    Wow, what a night! Looks like you were running on adrenalin and sugar, LOL. I'm glad you were able to keep the water at bay, and at least it's the weekend now so presumably you and your wife have time to destress.
    Positively Radical Pigeonholes are for Pigeons!


    • #3
      Yes we are destressing now, I slept very well last night, so many houses around here have piles of damaged stuff in front of them from flooding. I think I was so exhausted and depleted physically I could have eaten anything I wanted and not felt so bad but I'm eating very primally this weekend. Having used to live in Los Angeles, the amount of rain we got in a day was about what most spots in Southern California get in a year.